Blizzard talks end-game

Posted by DHAdmin on July 3rd, 2012 at 3:29 pm

This is the first time a Blizzard employee has ever commented about the issue of end-game content. They are quite aware that more is needed than the current "item hunt" and are looking to implement various systems in the future to improve upon the game beyond PvP.

Blizzard Quote [source]

We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game. There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they're going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven't already). Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren't going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it's not there right now.

We're working toward 1.0.4, which we're really trying to pack with as many fixes and changes we can to help you guys out (and we'll have a bunch of articles posted with all the details as we get closer), and we're of course working on 1.1 with PvP arenas. I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they're not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game. We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it's a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out.

A user on the Battle.net forums had this to say:

Thank you very much for this informative and honest answer. Though to be honest what this answer really reveals is "we didn't have a real end game ready or in mind and aren't sure how to retain customers, the game was released before it was quite ready, possibly because of the giant outcry from the fans"

Bashiok replied with

Blizzard Quote [source]

Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose, but we believed pre-release that the item hunt would be far more sustainable, and would work to be a proper end-game for quite a while. That didn't turn out to be true, and we recognize that.

Blizzard wants your feedback on potential Magic Find changes

Posted by DHAdmin on July 3rd, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Blizzard posted a blog update earlier today dealing with the issue of switching your items to a Magic Find gear set on the last few seconds of a fight. Blizzard proposes us a few changes but are very much looking for player feedback for whatever route they decide to go with.

Blizzard Quote [source]

Since release it has become an increasingly common practice to keep a Magic Find (MF) set in your inventory, and swap it in shortly before a kill. Philosophically we don't have a problem with the practice. While players getting more Magic Find for their kills isn't a game breaker for us, many players have said they don't enjoy doing it but feel the benefit is too large to ignore. Since the call for a solution really comes from all of you, we'd like to invite you to chime in with your opinion on what the solution could be.

It's worth keeping in mind that if we do implement a method to alleviate gear-swapping in combat, we'll simultaneously be looking at ways for players to get an added MF bonus to compensate.

Here are the solutions we're currently considering, and would appreciate your feedback and opinion on what seems the most reasonable for you, and why:

Option 1: Set a Magic Find Cap

We could set an MF cap between something like 100% and 200%. Nephalem Valor provides 75%, so you would need between 25% and 125% to reach the hard cap. Everyone could find ways to hit the cap for MF% on their gear and then stop.

Pros: Creates a gearing-game around trying to hit the "MF% cap" that some players enjoy. It also solves the swapping issue for people with enough gear to hit the cap. Players who want to min-max and gear swap can do so, and players who think it's stupid but feel "compelled" can try to hit the new cap instead.

Cons: Depending on where the cap is set, it may not actually alleviate gear swapping, and players who wish they didn’t have to will feel compelled to do so. It also devalues a highly valuable stat, and desired stats mean desired gear, which helps diversify the item hunt.
 

Option 2: Slowly Adjust Magic Find Over Time

When you equip an item with Magic Find, we don't let your MF% change right away. Instead your Magic Find slowly "drifts" towards the target Magic Find -- potentially something like 1% every 3 seconds. If you open up your Character Details sheet, you can see the number change "8%... 9%... 10%." Even though you could in theory switch to Magic Find gear for the killing blow and get a few extra percent, it’s probably not worth it.

Pros: High degree of visibility as your stat sheet updates. Still allows you to swap your gear when you get an upgrade in the world without having to feel bad about putting the item on.

Cons: May not  alleviate the problem for players who still feel compelled to get a few extra MF%. Depending on the rate, some players may just swap in an item during the last 20 seconds of a fight even though they don’t want to.
 

Option 3: Use your average MF% or your lowest MF% of the last 5 minutes

We could sample your MF% every 30 seconds or so and create a moving average, or use the lowest MF% the game has seen on your character in the last few minutes.

Pros: A lot of the same benefits as Solution 2, but harder to game. Still allows you to switch gear when you get an upgrade, which is great.

Cons: Difficult to communicate. We'd have to communicate this on the Details page somehow, but during normal gameplay there could be the sense of not knowing what your "moving average" is and wanting to look at it. Magic Find is already a difficult number to feel at any point in time, so hidden rules that modify Magic Find feel that much worse.
 

Option 4: Zero-Out Your MF% for 3 Minutes After Swapping Gear

When you swap gear, your Magic Find is disabled for 3 minutes.

Pros: Absolutely effective at discouraging gear swaps. Still allows you to swap gear when you find an upgrade, and the 3 minute duration is probably short enough that if you kill an Elite pack and get an upgrade, you can put that upgrade on and have your Magic Find active again by the time you get to the next pack.

Cons:  Players who are unfamiliar with the system may open up their details page and see their Magic Find as 0% and not understand why. We could mitigate this by making the 0% MF colored with a tooltip stating the countdown until your Magic Find would work again, as well as what your Magic Find will be when the time expires.
 

Option 5: Gear Swapping Interacts with Nephalem Valor

There's a whole class of solutions that interact with Nephalem Valor. For example, we could remove a stack of Nephalem Valor when you swap a piece of gear.

Pros: Stops gear swapping just for the last kill, while still allowing the player the option to do so.

Cons: Some players will lose a stack by accident. We could put a confirmation box in to address accidental loss of a stack, but game-interrupting popups are potentially character-killing. It also causes co-op players to drop out of sync. One person may switch gear and lose a stack or two, and if it happens before a boss they'll want to clear two more packs before hitting the boss, but the other party members may not want to -- causing some tense social situations in co-op play. Finally, it tightly couples two systems together and generally tightly-coupled systems don't function over the long haul as well as loosely-coupled systems. In other words, future changes to the Nephalem Valor system or the Magic Find system (or systems related to those two systems) become harder to make as both systems would be impacted.

While we're having our own discussions and tests of how well these options could work, we’re interested to hear your thoughts. We’d mainly like to hear which approaches you like, if there are any specifics you like or don't like about it, and why. Having the context of how this affects you personally really helps us.

We're going to be locking down comments in this article to focus feedback to one location, so please head to the forum thread link below to discuss.

July 3rd Hotfixes

Posted by DHAdmin on July 3rd, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Just a few minor changes today.

Blizzard Quote [source]

Below you'll find a list of hotfixes for the month of July which address various gameplay and service issues affecting Diablo III.

Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented, while others may require a restart to go into effect. As always, please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. 

July 26

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug that allowed wizards to become permanently invulnerable
  • Fixed a health regeneration bug that occasionally affected barbarians when using Furious Charge

July 3

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug that allowed players to earn additional stacks of Nephalem Valor or guaranteed item drops by killing multiple monsters simultaneously from the same Champion or Rare pack
  • Fixed even more game and service crashes

June 28th Hotfixes

Posted by DHAdmin on June 28th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Today's hotfixes bring a large increase to item drop rates in all of Inferno, in addition bosses now drop 2 Rare items for players with 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor, happy loot hunting!

Blizzard Quote [source]

Below you'll find a list of hotfixes for the month of June which address various gameplay and service issues affecting Diablo III.

Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below will go live the moment they are implemented, while others may require a restart to go into effect. As always, please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. 

Spoiler Warning: If you have not yet completed Diablo III on Normal, some hotfixes described in this list may include spoilers.

June 29

Bug Fixes

  • General
    • Identifying an item will no longer allow players to circumvent a skill’s attack animation cooldown
    • Fixed a bug that allowed players to temporarily increase their attack speed or double-cast a skill by clicking repeatedly on Town Portal while performing an ability
    • Fixed some additional (but rare) game crashes
  • Auction House
    • Fixed a bug that was causing stacks of commodities in a player’s stash to update incorrectly if the items being sent from the Completed Tab were purchased from multiple different sellers

June 28

Items

  • The drop rates for high-end items (items level 61-63) have been increased for Acts III and IV of Hell difficulty and Acts I – IV of Inferno difficulty:
    • The new approximate drop rates are as follows:
      • Hell – Act III and Act IV
        • iLvl 61: 13.9%, up from 9%
        • iLvl 62:  3.45%, up from 1.9%
        • iLvl 63: 0% (no change)
      • Inferno – Act I
        • iLvl 61: 23.9%, up from 17.7%
        • iLvl 62: 12.6%, up from 7.9%
        • iLvl 63: 4.8%, up from 2.0%
      • Inferno – Act II
        • iLvl 61: 23.3%, up from 18.6%
        • iLvl 62: 18.6%, up from 12.4%
        • iLvl 63: 9.3%, up from 4.1%
      • Inferno – Act III and Act IV
        • iLvl 61: 27.1%, up from 24.1%
        • iLvl 62: 21.7%, up from 16.1%
        • iLvl 63: 16.3%, up from 8.0%

Bosses

  • Bosses are now guaranteed to drop at least 1 Rare item for players with 4 stacks of Nephalem Valor and at least 2 Rare items for players with 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor

 

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug with several items that would allow those items to block pathing when dropped on the ground
  • Fixed a crash that could sometimes occur when a player was interacting with environment objects (e.g. opening chests or clicking on a lectern)
  • Fixed several additional game and service crashes

June 12

Bug Fixes

  • Players can no longer gain achievements they have not earned by joining a Public Game with someone who has earned those achievements
  • Monks can no longer infinitely stack the damage buff from Combination Strike by changing weapons.

June 8

General

  • In cooperative games, monster damage will no longer increase when additional players join the game. Please note that monster health will still scale based on the number of players in a party

Bug Fixes

  • Tyrael no longer has collision when he is your active follower and his damage has been reduced
  • Pots of ashes in Act I and vases in Act IV will now drop less gold when destroyed
  • Resplendant chests will no longer spawn in the Underbridge
  • Fixed a bug where players could turn in the same quest repeatedly and always receive rewards as though they were completing the quest for the first time

New Digital Purchase Restrictions

Posted by DHAdmin on June 27th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Blizzard has posted an official update on the digital purchase restrictions, users who purchased a digital copy no longer have to wait to continue past Act 1 content.

Blizzard Quote [source]
Update 6/26/12: Leveling and Act I content restrictions for unverified digital purchasers have been removed with patch 1.0.3a. Please note that this change will not take effect until your game client has been updated to the most recent patch.

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For security reasons and to help ensure the integrity of the game and auction house service, players who purchase the digital version of Diablo III may have to wait until payment verification is complete before they can access certain game features. (See below for a full list of restrictions associated with digital purchases.) While most payments are approved and restrictions are lifted within a day, in some cases it can take up to 72 hours to complete this process.

Similar to World of Warcraft, these restrictions were put in place to deter credit card fraud, which in turn helps reduce gold spam and other harmful activities that can have a negative impact on the game experience for everyone.

However, as an unintended consequence of these security measures, players who purchase the game digitally after patch 1.0.3 are temporarily being capped at level 13 and not able to proceed beyond Act I. We are working to correct this as soon as possible and will provide another update when we have more details to share.

Aside from the two unintended restrictions noted above, below are the standard security-related restrictions that will be in place for digital purchases until payment verification is complete:

  • No public game access for unverified digital purchasers
  • No auction house access (real-money or gold) for unverified digital purchasers
  • Unverified digital purchasers cannot trade items or drop items for other players to receive
  • Unverified digital purchasers are not able to chat in any public or game channels
  • Unverified digital purchasers cannot attach a custom message to friend requests, but they can send/accept friend requests, and play with their friends
  • Global Play is not available for unverified digital purchasers


Again, we want to be perfectly clear that these are temporary restrictions (often lifted within a day and at most 72 hours) associated with digital purchases for the protection of players. We appreciate player feedback and will continue to evaluate the best methods for ensuring a positive game experience for everyone.
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